Pedagogical leadership is, fundamentally, a professional development and support process for Alternative Education (AE). Pedagogical leadership is not about the work of just one person, but requires all those with a responsibility for learner outcomes to be involved and actively working together to accelerate the learning of these students.

This evaluation has found that AE clusters have taken a diverse range of approaches to pedagogical leadership and, even at this early stage, a range of outcomes is evident. This variety is, to an extent, to be expected in an area as complex and diverse as AE. Moreover, it is expected that different clusters will continue to manage pedagogical leadership in quite different ways in line with the different objectives of their programmes and the varying needs of their students.

Despite these differences, some key principles can be identified from the work of those clusters studied in this evaluation. These organisational and implementation principles have been split into two basic types: ‘Organisational principles’ set out aspects connected to the management of pedagogical leadership. This includes how pedagogical leadership is established and who oversees this work. The other set – ‘implementation principles’ – deals with the actual work of staff in pedagogical leadership positions. The implementation principles outline the knowledge and approach required to make pedagogical leadership a transformational process – one that aims to continuously improve the academic, social and destination outcomes of AE students.

These principles reflect ERO’s observation of the early development of pedagogical leadership. Future evaluation and research efforts could develop these principles further.